At its Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) 2012, Apple announced a refresh of its super-compact Wi-Fi router, the AirPort Express Base Station. Though it has had firmware updates, the hardware has not been updated since 2008, when Apple added 802.11n support.
The new model is still a little box with 802.11n wireless, but it's no longer a wall wart, instead, taking on the square, low-profile look of Apple's Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule.
With the redesign, the Express has room for both 10/100 Ethernet LAN and WAN jacks (not Gigabit), one USB port, and one audio jack to connect to speakers (or any audio output device). The audio jack works with standard analog mini-jack cables or optical mini-jacks, for an all-digital connection. This allows you to use any iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) or an iTunes-equipped computer on the AirPort's network to stream music to that device using Apple's AirPlay feature.
The big wireless upgrade this time around is simultaneous dual-band 802.11n. That means that the AirPort Express runs 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless frequencies simultaneously, so regardless of which band your wireless devices use, they'll automatically connect to the one that will give you the fastest connection.
Everything else is pretty much the same, including the USB port, which still only supports printers and not external storage. However, with the addition of the LAN, you can now connect a network drive.
The Apple AirPort Express Base Station is available now for AU$119.